AR 14558 (Archival Research)

Thu Jul 18 13:14:32 GMT 2024

Principal Investigator: Neal Dalal
PI Institution: Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Investigators (xml)

Title: Probing dark matter physics with galaxy clusters
Cycle: 24

We propose a theoretical investigation of the effects of a class of dark matter (DM) self-interactions on the properties of galaxy clusters and their host dark matter halos. Recent work using HST has claimed the detection of a particular form of DM self-interaction, which can lead to observable displacements between satellite galaxies within clusters and the DM subhalos hosting them. This form of self-interaction is highly anisotropic, favoring forward scattering with low momentum transfer, unlike isotropically scattering self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) models. This class of models has not been simulated numerically, clouding the interpretation of the claimed offsets between galaxies and lensing peaks observed by HST. We propose to perform high resolution simulations of cosmological structure formation for this class of SIDM model, focusing on three observables accessible to existing HST observations of clusters. First, we will quantify the extent to which offsets between baryons and DM can arise in these models, as a function of the cross section. Secondly, we will also quantify the effects of this type of DM self-interaction on halo concentrations, to determine the range of cross-sections allowed by existing stringent constraints from HST. Finally we will compute the so-called splashback feature in clusters, specifically focusing on whether SIDM can resolve the current discrepancy between observed values of splashback radii in clusters compared to theoretical predictions for CDM. The proposed investigations will add value to all existing deep HST observations of galaxy clusters by allowing them to probe dark matter physics in three independent ways.